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Josephs Brau Winterfest | Trader Joe's Brewing Company

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190 Reviews
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Josephs Brau WinterfestJosephs Brau Winterfest

Brewed by:
Trader Joe's Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-14-2008

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Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 270
Photo of fezmeister
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber/light mahogany in color with a light tan head that doesn't stand too tall but looks appealingly light and creamy. The nose is nice, but I'm not sure I can indicate much more specific than nice malty, caramel overtones, which of course open as the beer warms.

I wasn't too keen on this beer after the first bottle, but decided it was pretty good after all in circumspect. Considering that it comes off as slightly sweet, the mouthfeel is not the faintest bit sticky or heavy. The toasty Munich malt, caramel, and faintly fruity (baked apple?) flavors are nicely balanced with hop content and some more subtle flavors that are reminiscent of a nicely done winter ale. I'm going to have to look up what yeasts went into this brew, as I seem to detect flavors that could be attributed to the chosen microbial fermenter.

Well worth trying considering the $5.99/sixer price tag.

 885 characters

Photo of GossageBrewery
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this Doppelbock style ale from a 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass. Poured a nice clear reddish brown color. Produced a nice tan head, great retention. Aroma was a sweet malty, caramel scent. Full body, this ale was a very nice surprise. Excellent example of the style, excellent session beer. Taste of toasted grain, caramel and a very aggressive hop finish. High in alochol, leaves you feeling warm, great brew for winter time!

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Photo of rodney45
2.71/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark amber with a cream colored head that remains for the entire duration.

S: Grains, oatmeal and alfalfa hay.

T: Burnt and bitter toast are the first notes i get. Alcohol seems hidden, and so do any sort of hop profile. Sour and agressive. I agree with a previous review that said, a medicinal bitterness. It lingers throughout the beer, and it almost tastes like old vitamins, or the way a health food vitamin isle smells. It gets slightly sweeter as it warms up.

M: Sharp and sour, moderately carbonated. Medium body.

O: It seems to be an odd example of this style. Its not that it is bad, it just seems unfamiliar and medicinal. Personally would not purchase again, esspecially since you can get better offerings from trader joes for the same price, id rather stick with the pale ale, or ipa... both good examples of their own respective styles made by trader joes.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pilsner glass.

L - clear cherrywood/amber color with a beige head that stayed as a layer being fueled by the rise of tiny bubbles but not much in the way of leaving any lacing.

S - sweet malty aroma that is pleasant for the style.

T - not as sweet as the aroma but it's malty for sure with hints of grain and alcohol.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

O - all around decent beer that I might enjoy more so with a hearty meal than just on it's own.

 480 characters

Photo of bbkd3b
3.74/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ah, Trader Joe's... Funny how many times I went to this store without trying the name-brand beers they offer. Time to change that, I suppose.

Fist impression falls a bit flat - the color is a beautiful deep, red shade, but the head barely exists before disappearing. Sweet, robust scent - almost sugary. Bread malts compliment just the faintest hop character. The malty scents are just as thick as the beer lowers in the glass. No lacing or carbonation to speak of, but the important part is there.

Oddly potent combination of wheat and grass on the first sip. Body is fairly light and sharp. Maybe the flavors aren't as strong as the scent, but it satisfies nonetheless. It sweetens as the beer warms a bit, but there's always a chomp of bitterness that shows up in the aftermath. In spite of a decently hefty content, the alcohol never shows itself. Well-made.

All in all, not a bad beer at all. Makes for a good companion on winter nights. I'll probably make more purchases after realizing how affordable this is. Nice job!

 1,029 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark reddish brown color with almost no head.

S: Roasted malt, burnt toast, cereal malt and some rye bread.

T: For some reason, this tastes more than 7.5%. Mouthfeel is a little syrupy and the taste is almost like a rye bread syrup. Some roasted malt, caramel, brown sugar and yeast as well.

 296 characters

Photo of Treath
3.51/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- A brown amber with a light brown head. Good lacing.

S- Nutty, alcohol, dark coffee, honey, hops, raisins/prunes, roasted malts.

T- A lot of carbonation, sharp hops, and alcohol at first then I tasted dark roasted malts, coffee, bready grains, and a tiny hint of sweet at the end. Has a wheat bread aftertaste.

M- Stingy sharp carbonation, bubbly, fizzles away as you swallow.

Drinkability- This is a beer where you drink one and you feel full.

Overall, this beer is good once in a while. It's an ok beer.
Good for the price.

 533 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.78/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Best consumed before 5/21/12.

Pours a clear copper color with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a thin cap. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and some fruit aromas. Taste is of toasted malt, caramel, dark fruits, and an interesting band-aid flavor. A slightly assertive and medicinal bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is not a very good beer in my opinion based mainly on the off band-aid flavor coupled with the assertive hop bitterness.

 588 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours brown with a medium off-white head, good retention and lace.

S: Heavy malt with a hint of fig, pretty standard smell.

T: Lots of dark bread, brown sugar. Light grassy hop character.

M: Medium to full-bodied with a frothy carbonation. Somewhat cloying at times.

O: For a $6 6er of dopplebock it's quite a deal. To style and well made. Nowhere near the greatness of Salvator or Celebrator, but at this price point I'm happy.

 451 characters

Photo of bbb099
3.16/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Clear, dark brown amber with light mocha colored head. Decent amount of lacing.

S - Soft amber malt aroma, but not much else.

T - Caramel malt flavor. Finishes with a little bit of grassy hop bitterness and grainy aftertaste.

M - A little flat. Medium to full bodied. I wished it was a little more carbonated.

O - Not exactly an exciting beer, but it doesn't taste terrible either. The relatively high alcohol content was surprisingly covered up well.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark brown with a good two inches of off white tan colored head. This faded and nestled own leaving a thin film and some side glass lace. The smell was nce and smoky with a bit of an earthy grain mixed in. A touch of some caramel and sweetness as well. The flavor was very tight. Crisp clean and efficent flavor, lots of malt, nice smoky flavors with a touch of caramel.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Winterfest pours a full cherry brown color that is somewhat transparent when held up to the light. A small white cap leaves only a ring around the edges after a minute, with no real lace.

Smell: Soft molasses, some dark fruits blend together well - plum, raisin, and figs. There is not a lot of depth to the aroma though.

Taste: The flavor starts out with some caramel malts, with a sweetness that grows into a molasses flavor, interwoven with plums and raisins. Light earthy hops are noticeable but don't add much bitterness at all to the end. A light alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel: Slightly sticky on the lips, this is obviously a sweet beer. The feel starts a bit sweet and grainy, moving more syrupy as the sip progresses. There is a slight cut to the stickiness at the end, but not much. Creamy carbonation that is not all that smooth, and a medium body.

Overall: I guess if you are picking something up from Trader Joe's and really want it to be Trader Joe's brand, this would be an all right one to pick up. Everything is muted compared to others of the style, but it isn't too bad.

 1,147 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.64/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.17 at Trader Joe's in Roswell, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a russet-ruby-hued body with a smallish, light beige head.

Smell: A harmonious co-mingling of toasted bread and nuts with a fruity hint of both harvest apple slices and Sun-Maid raisins brushed with caramel and flecked with chary roastiness.

Taste: Well toasted bread crusts and barley grains given a modest brushing of dark caramel sauce and brown sugar. Slight nuttiness throughout. Mingling of ripe apple and plump raisins provide a noted fruitiness. Spicy, earthy hops that, along with a hint of roasted grains, provide a reasonable amount of bitterness. Drying, slightly warming finish with a lasting, if light, apple taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Hey! Wait a minute. Wait just one damn minute! This is curiously reminiscent of the Gordon Biersch Winter Bock... E-mails to the brewery have gone unanswered.

 930 characters

Photo of yemenmocha
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours cola brown, light brown. Thin head. Nose on the lighter side too with lightly roasted malt. On the palate the same character is found with light roasty malt flavors and some dark bread breadiness. Light bodied but not watery. Smooth. Very drinkable.

 255 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Warm and malty dark lager.

Very nice mahogany color in the tulip glass. Rich and nutty malt is pretty much the story. Rather sweet and in line with the style. Caramel Sugar Daddy sucker. Hops make a brief appearance and leave a nice bitterish aftertaste. Then the sweetness sticks around.

Bargain winter ale. I have found it very drinkable over the years.

 357 characters

Photo of rKunda
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My wife grabbed this for me from Trader Joe's from the free for all section. I don't know if I'd ever have tried it.

Pours a nice head from the bottle but it fizzled away quickly, almost like a soda, but not quite as quickly.

It smells really good. It smells slightly sweet to me, but you can also smell a fair amount of alcohol, too.

Taste has it's ups and downs, or rather those but in reverse order. The first sip was a little stronger than I was expecting... it doesn't taste nearly as sweet as it smells. After that, each sip was pretty pleasing. It tasted similar to the Stone offering of Highway 78 Scotch Ale (which I reviewed as one of my favorite beers ever!). Some sweet notes, some caramel, with a little spiciness.

It's not nearly as good as the Stone beer mentioned above, but it wasn't bad. I liked it. I liked it enough to buy it again. Whereas the Stone offering was $2.99 per 12oz bottle, for example, this TJ brand is $1 per beer. Regarding the whole, "you get what you pay for" saying, you get, I think, more than you pay for. Dollar for dollar, this is better than most other beers I've had in the price range. But it's not a craft brew from some of the awesome breweries, either.

It's well carbonated, perhaps a bit more than it should be.

Overall, I like it. I bought more and, while it's available, I'll likely get some more again. It's not my favorite, but it's a total winner for the price.

 1,422 characters

Photo of Offa
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep red-brown, med. Pale tan head slowly shrinking to ring.

Aroma is strong dark bread with brandied stewed fruits, a little meaty. It is fairly good, definitely in style, but a bit off & not great.

Taste is slightly burnt toast soaked in brandy with fermented dark raisins, light sweetness (esp. up front) with bitter spicy raisin and hint of alcoholic heat taking over. It’s good, in style, but not great and it’s a bit heavy for the simple character. Feel is nothing special.

 485 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottles served in pint glass 1+ month before "Best by" date (lightly revised with a fresher bottle in Nov. 2014)

A - deep mahogany color; clear; thin off-white head with brief duration but lasting ring.

Nice aroma of roasted and caramel malt.

Malts are also main components of flavor, but some spiciness as well. Not very sweet overall, and definitely not as sweet as the aroma [IBU = 28] but plenty of caramel and brown sugar flavors.

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3.13/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pint glass: Pours amber brown, 1 finger head fades out right away.

S: Smells strong, pure alcohol.

T: Alcohol, hint of molasses, slight caramel aftertaste but mainly alcohol. Not much else covering it up.

M: Feels like your drinking a shot of bourbon. You get a little bit of that burn.

D: Not for sipping, not much taste here. Drink it fast & get a quick buzz. I recommend drinking this one straight from the bottle, it's a lot better that way. A bit too metallic for me but it is worth giving it a go. I've yet to taste a very good bock but I haven't been looking for one either.

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Photo of Pecafaced
2.88/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- A dark red ruby color with a decent amount of head retention that dissipated fairly quick. The beer left a nice lacing along the glass.

S- very sweet, hints of biscuit. No hop aroma detected.

T- a sweet taste initially, followed by the biscuit flavor and then a bit of alcohol towards the end. A decent dry finish.

M- not a bad mouthfeel. This beer is well carbonated.

D- For a 7.5% ABV is pretty drinkable. The alcohol is not as upfront as some beers with that much volume. Probably wouldn't buy it again but its drinkable.

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Photo of imagese
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased 12/09 and cellared until today

A- DARK DARK ruby with a one finger eggshell head that leaves moderate lacing

S- Initial burst of molasses and bread. Faint chocolate malt and a slight sweet booze smell

T- Very sweet malt and a cola like taste. There is the SMALLEST hint of vinegar that pops in once in a while

M- Nice body. For how it smells with age, you would like a fuller body. Moderate carbonation brings the cola taste out

D- I bought two of these last year. Drank one fresh, and tossed this one in to age. Not sure I'd really buy this one again. Overall it's a great beer for the price, but there's many other options if you cross over to strong ales to satisfy your need for big and moderate priced brews

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Photo of Erish
3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this 12 oz. beer into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Best consumed before 03/08/11.

A: clear medium to dark mahogany color, fizzy tan head quickly falls into a good cap with decent lacing.

S: sweet, almost cookie-like malt, smells a bit like an almond crescent cookie! Also, a hint of generic yeast funk and clove.

T: sweet bread, nuttiness, the middle opens up to a little bit of earthiness/yeast funk, but not a lot, there is also a light clove/allspice note in there, the finish finally releases a hit from the grassy hops, and it lingers with some sweetness.

M: medium-bodied, creamy texture, moderate carbonation, and a fairly long finish.

D: It has decent doppelbock character, but it is a bit incoherent. What do you want for a buck a bottle? Not bad to try.

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Photo of SuperSpy
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark mahogany. Thick tan head with great retention and very good lacing. Incredibly clear.

S - A hint of caramel, and sweet, bready malts. The aroma is promising.

T/M - Full bodied, with frothy effects from the carbonation. The flavor has a lot of sweet roasted malt with a slight over ripened banana flavor. The beer finishes pretty well balanced with a bit of hop bitterness coming through at the end. It's not very complex but what's there is good.

D - An incredibly drinkable beer at less than $6 per 6-pack. I've only started trying out the Trader Joe's beers in the last two weeks and I have to say that I have only been impressed with the level of quality for the price. This is a very drinkable beer, but I can't let the price determine the drinkability. The flavor could be more complex, especially considering the high ABV. To drink more of something with this much alcohol on a week night I need a good reason. The simplicity leads me to move to something else that doesn't pack such a punch.

 1,010 characters

Photo of afinepilsner
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle
7.5% abv

Josephs Brau Winterfest was dark amber in color with good clarity. It had a light tan head with average retention and minimal lacing. The smell was dark malt, a touch toasty and with toffee and caramel. The taste was quite malty with a little dark fruit a bit toasty. It was sweet upfront and finished semi-dry. The body was medium with medium carbonation. Drinkabity was above average. This is a decent Doppelbock for a cheap price.

 461 characters

Photo of ToasterChef
3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A chilled bottle is poured into a glass mug. The liquid is brown with some ruby notes. Lots of carbonation bubbles are visible. A thin tan foam head was present as I poured, but quickly disappeared. It now looks like a mug of Coke. The aroma is slightly sweet and full of winter spices. Dark and chocolate malts provide a good base for this beer. Some alcohol and bitterness comes forward at the finish. It works well and reminds you this is a stronger beer. The beer is medium bodied and has a lot of carbonation. A coat that is a little bit sticky is left behind. Although this beer is a tad strong, it drinks very easily. I could easily make my way through a few bottles on a cold winter night. This isn't an exceptional beer, but for the price, it is very good and worth checking out.

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Josephs Brau Winterfest from Trader Joe's Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 270 ratings.
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